BRC

Ulster Rally Volkswagen preview

McRae and Volkswagen bid for Ulster glory With reigning British Rally Champion Alister McRae joining ultra-fast team leader Tapio Laukkanen in the Volkswagen squad for the (Aug 2/3) Ulster Rally, the chances of a Golf GTI victory have never ...

McRae and Volkswagen bid for Ulster glory

With reigning British Rally Champion Alister McRae joining ultra-fast team leader Tapio Laukkanen in the Volkswagen squad for the (Aug 2/3) Ulster Rally, the chances of a Golf GTI victory have never looked stronger.

McRae's switch to Volkswagen for the Ulster - penultimate round of the 1996 Mobil 1/Top Gear RACMSA British Rally Championship - comes at a time when the Sony, Revolution Wheels and Pirelli-sponsored team is poised to reap the rewards of season-long development of the Golf and its revolutionary seven-speed sequential gearbox.

Alister - who took championship honours on the 1995 Ulster - believes he can do it again: "We spent several days testing in Ireland last week and the car went really well and I got a lot more practice in with the sequential shift. I love the Ulster roads and I'll be going all out for victory - if my team-mate will let me!"

Shell-backed McRae, 25, brother of World Rally Champion Colin, will be at the wheel of the blue Trigard-liveried 'Colour Concept' Golf GTI 16V hitherto driven by Flying Finn Jouko Puhakka.

In his regular yellow Golf will be Laukkanen, bidding to break his duck in what so far has been a cruel championship campaign. Last time out, in Scotland, the 27-year-old Finn put in some storming stage times on the opening day of the rally before gearbox failure ended his hopes. "I think we have shown that the car has the speed to win," said Tapio, "and I hope that my first rally in Ulster will be a turning point..."

The third man in the Volkswagen team, Lincolnshire's Ashley Blenkhorn, 27, will also be in action in Ulster, driving the red 3M-supported Golf. It will be his second visit to the Province's major motor sporting event and he has one major aim - to emerge as top driver in the Autosport Amateur Award rankings. "The car is getting better each time out," said Ashley, "and I am really hopeful of a good result in Ulster."

-- Volkswagen rallying http://www.demon.co.uk/racing/vwrally.html

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Series BRC
Drivers Alister McRae